NPFL Death: NFF Inaugurates Committee
By Samuel Victor Akpan
President of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick has called on the ad hoc committee set up to investigate the death of Nasarawa United player Chineme Martins, to map out strong recommendations that will form the bedrock of football organization in the country.
He revealed this while inaugurating the committee on Tuesday in Benin.
Pinnick who expressed delight at the quality of the members of the committee, also described the task as a “serious one.”
“I am happy at the calibre of the people who make up the membership of this committee and I have no doubt you will come up with the right protocols that must be adhered to before any football match takes place anywhere in Nigeria.”
“This is the time to make difficult decisions and I trust you to make them for us.”
“Your job is a very serious one. You are free to tinker with the terms of reference and avail us the steps that will safeguard the future of our players in the areas of medical, safety and security.”
“We pray that the soul of Chineme Martins rest in peace but we are pained by his death and we must use it as a wake-up call to enforce compliance with the provisions of Club Licensing as well as the fresh medical and security protocols that this committee will draw up.”
In his reaction, Chairman of the committee, Peter Singabele, a member of the CAF committee on Sports Medicine, thanked the NFF President for the opportunity given the committee.
According to him, the “experience, energy, assiduity and sincerity” of the committee members will help ensure that lapses that led to the death of Martins are a thing of the past.
Members of the committee include: Mazi Amanze Uchegbulam (Chairman of the Imo State Football Association, former 1st Vice President of the NFF and former Vice President of the CAF Appeal Board); respected technocrat and retired senior civil servant, Alhaji Abba Abdullahi Yola; Dr. Paul Onyeudo, head of sports medicine of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports; Otunba Tade Azeez, President of the Nigeria Referees Association; Mr. Tijani Babangida, President of National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers and; Alhaji Salihu Abubakar, chief operating officer of the League Management Company.
Others are: Commissioner of Police Umar Baba, Mr. Oladunni Oyekale, Mr. Francis Adejoh, Dr. Ibrahim Gyaran and Miss Kisu Remi Sulola are the other members, with Mr. China Acheru as secretary. Member of the NFF Executive Committee, Alh. Ibrahim Musa Gusau, NFF’s Director of Communications Ademola Olajire and NFF’s Head of Legal/CAF Safety and Security Officer Barr. Okey Obi are co-opted members.
Nassarawa United player Chineme Martin slumped and died during an NPFL game Katsina United at the Lafia Township Stadium on March 8.